In 2019 we went on a cruise that we had initially booked back on our last cruise in 2015. I had literally been looking forward to that trip for 4 years. Before we took that trip, we booked our Maine trip. Shortly after that trip, we booked our winter Finger Lakes escape (more on that trip to come). Now, we are home with no travel plans for 2020 and with nothing planned, I go stir crazy.
Last year, our Phoenix trip really helped break up the cold, Michigan winter. So, on New Years Eve we began searching for flight deals in February. We found a ridiculous deal on a flight to Austin, Texas so we will be spending a few days there next month! I have never spent any time in Texas, unless you count our 3 hour layover in Dallas early last year. So, I’m excited to explore a new place and I hope it will be warm (unlike Phoenix). We will only be there for a couple of days, but if you have any Austin must-dos, please let me know!
We are also planning to visit Chris’ family in the Tampa area for Spring Break. I haven’t spent much time in that part of Florida. I’m hoping to spend some time on the beach, but to also see the sites. It looks like there are a few interesting museums over there as well as some natural sites to explore.
We don’t have any plans yet for a summer trip, but I’m kind of hoping for something epic. It has been 15 years since I’ve been to Europe and I would love to explore more places over there. But, honestly, I would be happy with more time to see the Upper Peninsula, especially the Western UP. Of course, we feel the pull to return to Maine as well. Who knows where we will end up, but I’m sure I will update you when we have something booked!
Of course, I’m also hoping to do some more Michigan camping trips this summer. Spending time in the Great Outdoors really helps to center me and give me perspective. I would love to revisit some of our favorite campground, whether it be Wilderness State Park, Straits, or D.H. Day. There is also talk of re-visiting the Finger Lakes area next fall, which I can’t get enough of that place so I am definitely up for it! You’ll have to come back here to find out where we end up!
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The first time I visited Key West it was the first port on a Caribbean cruise and honestly, I fell in love and just could not wait to go back! So, a year and a half later I took another trip to the Keys with the intent to see more of the islands. One of the things I did on that trip was climb to the top of the Key West Lighthouse. As a Michigander, I’ve climbed to the top of several Great Lakes Lighthouses and the view from the KWL was totally different! It gave you a bird’s eye view of the island and really highlighted the colorful architecture that makes up the Southernmost Isle.
I highly encourage photographers (and travelers too) to look for a different vantage point, especially in highly photographed areas. Climb lighthouses, stairs, mountains, you never know what you’ll see when you reach the top.
I hadn’t been to the Kennedy Space Center since I was a kid and when we chose a cruise that stopped at Port Canaveral we (grudgingly) decided that it wasn’t worth it to drive to Disney World for 8 hours (especially in the summer heat). My husband is a space nerd so he was very excited to rent a car and drive to the space center. If you’re ever on a cruise that calls at Port Canaveral I highly recommend this option. We rented an economy car for $30, the rental car company picked us up at the port, and when we told them where we were going they even gave us admission coupons that helped make up for the parking fee. Another plus if you rent car is you have the freedom to check out Ron Jon Surf Shop and eat at any of the seafood restaurants on the water instead of having to go back to the ship when you’re done at the Space Center. Unlike a lot of ports of call, there’s not a lot to do right near Port Canaveral.
If you do anything at the Kennedy Space Center, you have to take the bus to the Apollo/Saturn 5 Center. The First thing you do when you get off the bus is go through The Firing Room Theater where you see the actual control room from Apollo 8 and watch a recreation of the launch of that rocket. Then, you step into the Lunar Theater and watch a recreation of the moon landing. And I have to say, the Disney fan in me ate these shows up; They had the same “edutainment” feel you get at a lot of my favorite Disney attractions. After the shows you get to explore the exhibits in the building including a lot of memorabilia from the Apollo missions and an actual moon rock that you can touch. And of course, you can get up close to an actual Saturn V rocket and that is where this picture came from.
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When visiting St. Augustine, a trip to Castillo de San Marcos is an absolute must! A little history for you: The Castillo is the oldest masonry fort in the continental U.S. Construction began in 1672, back when Florida belonged to Spain. Over the years, the fort changed hands several times and when the U.S. gained control they changed its name to Fort Marion after General Francis Marion “The Swamp Fox”, a hero of the American Revolution. In 1924 it was designated a National Monument and in 1942 it was renamed Castillo de San Marcos in honor of its Spanish Heritage. Today, tourists flock to the fort to get a feel for American History and the Florida of the past.
I love the lines of this shot. The perspective makes the fort appear larger than life. I also love the texture of the 300+ year old brick that makes up the fort.
This photo was taken at the Crane Point Nature Center in Marathon, Florida. If you are planning a trip to the Keys, Crane Point can’t be missed. Admission is a little expensive, but the scenic walking trails and pristine views of The Florida Bay are absolutely worth it!
This is one of my favorite photos from my trip to the keys and I think that’s because there is so much to look at. The ladybug is the obvious focal point, but then you see the spines poking out at you, the spider web, and the vine that is snaking around the cactus. It makes this simple shot a little more complex.
I went back to work this week and, let me tell you, one week off for Spring Break was just not enough! Yes, I was able to relax and get a lot of work done on the site, but going back to work is never easy. When I have a tough week, this photo always seems to cheer me up. I don’t think it would be that hard to get up and go to work every day if I got to play with dolphins all day!
This photo was taken at the Theater of the Sea in Islamorada, Florida in the Florida Keys. The dolphin show was probably one of my favorite things that I have ever gotten to photograph. This was one of the many things that I loved about the Keys and I cannot wait until I have the good fortune to visit again.